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In response to Ryan:
It seems to me that a mandatory moment of silence is about as offensive of mandatory year end reflections. In my years of high school we had to write goals at the beginning of the year which were more or less censored, ie. we couldn't say we wanted an A in science, and a reflection at the end, which I learned the hard way was censored when I wrote joyfully of my success in my battle against the administration. Kudos to my school for making those reflections optional after I received a very brutal email from my adversary in the administration, but I have to say that the consequences from those reflections and goals were far more harsh than anything that could come from some quiet time.
I believe this time could be as meaningful as having a moment of inner reflection or as innocent as nap time for kindergartners. Silence is beautiful because it can be as spiritual as we'd like to make it or as frivolous as we see fit. There is nothing you are agreeing to when you are silent, no God to give thanks to or even believe in, and yet there is the freedom to do just that.
What is wrong with a moment of silence? If your students panic at a moment of silence that either it's purpose has not been clearly explained to them or you have some students with some serious issues.
Growing up, our PUBLIC schools had "morning exercises" which included the Pledge, singing of My country Tis of thee, and then "a moment of silence for meditation". Everyone knew it was for prayer and those who wanted to pray silently did. Those who did not, RESPECTED that time for the courtesy of others.
If teaching religious tolerance is part of the curriculum for public schools, demonstrating tolerance by allowing students to demonstrate their faith through prayer should be part of that.
Separation of church and state, by your definition should mean that absolutely nothing to do with religious beliefs should be allowed in school. If that is the case, everyone should be in school on Christmas, there should be no observation of Jewish holidays either and Muslim female students should not be allowed to wear their head coverings.
Religious tolerance means respecting the beliefs of someone who believes differently from you without necessarily accepting their beliefs as true or as your own.
Schools should be doing their part to teach religious tolerance, especially in the times we live where religion is such a hot issue. Allowing students their "moment of silence" provides a great teachable moment for teachers and students to have a discussion about religious tolerance and for a healthy exchange of ideas and beliefs.
Instead of running and hiding from discussion about religion, our schools should be a place for an exchange of ideas and information about it. Students can then take that information and explore further on their own.
What are we so afraid of? That somehow a moment of silence for prayer is going to make student feel pressured into one religion or another? C'mon.....
And by the way, standardized testing takes up WAY more time from the learning processes than two minutes of silence does.... get real...
At a young age especially in the Kindergarden years, a child will not know the difference between a "moment of silence" and a "time for prayer". This moment of silence in my school district does not even happen until the second hour of the day. This doesnt give the students the chance to "unwind" or "relax", instead it is more of a forced silence that takes up test time, causing the students to panic and become even more stressed.
If the church and state is to be separated, the moment of silence in school must be abolished. Public schools are for education. Private schools are for education and bible study or religious study. If you believe that the moment of silence is THAT important for relection or personal prayer, then sign your children up for private school.
I completely agree with you and I love the bible verse you used. Christians are not allowed to pray but Muslims can wear their turban and grow their facial hair out while everybody else has to shave and remove hats.
I went to am Episcopal School, and we had Muslims in our class. We had Hindus. We had Jews. Did they complain about mandatory Chapel and religious songs? No! They respected our religion (I'm Presbyterian), and we all had a jolly good time, as Americans should. Right on man, America needs to get over itself, and make best with what they got. News flash: Life Sucks.
For years I've had my adult education/parents classes begin with transition time. We've done quiet deep breathing, quietly focussed on what we want for the day, or held a moment of silence. All these methods have helped learners prepare their brain and body and spirit to have a meaningful and productive day.
As long as we have tests? There will be prayer in schools.
i don't think so!!!!!!
a moment of silence is so kids may pray before they start their day and by the way i do a moment of silence everyday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What people don't seem to understand is that no one says that you CAN'T pray in school. There is no need to have a MANDATORY moment of silence for prayer or meditation. If you want to pray, go right ahead and pray. You are allowed to pray in school, but the school is not allowed to make it mandatory. Making this law mandatory will make mandatory prayer in school one step closer. What would anyone think if we made it mandatory for people not to pray in school? How would religious people react then?
Students have as many minutes as they want during the day to pray to whatever or whomever they desire. During class before a test? They have the right. During passing time in the hall? They have the right. During lunch before they eat? They have that right. Before going to the freethrow line during the basketball game? They have that right. If you are not here to impress anyone but God, then why must you feel the need to mandate this moment for everyone. Isn't prayer a very personal thing? Doesn't mandating it cheapen it and contradict the intensely personal nature of the experience? Pray whenever and wherever you want, just leave those of us who do not desire to do so out of the equation.